tv FOX News Sunday With Chris Wallace FOX News October 17, 2010 1:00pm-2:00pm EST
interviews with john cornyn and clare mccaskill. i'm shannon bream. thanks for watching fox, where captioned by closed captioning services, inc. >> chris: i'm chris wallace and this is "fox news sunday." with just 16 days until the mid term elections, control of the u.s. senate is up for grabs. we'll get the latest from two senate leaders. john cornyn, the man in charge of gop efforts to take back the majority. and clare mccasskill one of the president's key allies. the senate showtown in california. can republicans pull off a major upset in the big blue state. we will ask the party's candidate, carly fiorina. and the president talks about lessons learned in office and how the next two years will be
different. we'll ask our sunday panel about barack obama's preelection post mortem. and from contentious debates to heavy hitters working the crowds, we'll have the best moments on the trail. all right now on "fox news sunday." and hello again from fox news in washington. many political insiders are predicting a republican takeover of the house. but what about the senate where are democrats are defending 19 seats, republicans 18? and the gop needs a net gain of 10 seats to regain control of the senate. for answers we bring in two senate leaders, from austin, texas, john cornyn, chairman of the national republican senatorial committee and from st. louis democrat clare mccaskill. you say this is going to be a wave election. what does that mean and will republicans take back the senate on november 2?
>> chris, this is going to be a referendum on unpopular policies shoved through congress on a fast track where the american people wondered has congress even read the bills or understand the impact. for example the president said today i believe in "new york times" magazine that there isn't such a thing as shovel ready projects. he discovered that after we spent $787 billion on an ill conceived stimulus. this is a referendum on the administration policies and majorities controlled by the democrats the last two years and about jobs, spending and debt. pretty much that simple. >> chris: okay and let me ask, if i may, sir,, let me ask you to give me a simple answer to my other question. will republicans take back the senate on november 2? >> we are going to fight for every seat we can possibly get. we have 12 seats in play. a she rest cal process there.
it may be a two cycle process. >> chris: the real clear politics average of recent polls has a republican pickup of 7 seats. the cook political report projects a gop pickup of seven to nine seats. again, republicans need a net gain of ten seats to take control. will democrats hold on to the senate and even if they do, if republicans while still in the minority end up with 47 seats, 48 seats, given all of the gridlock we have had the last two years, will anything get done over the next two in the senate? >> oh, i think that is hard to say. especially because many s somef the candidates that appear poised to win for the republican party are very extreme. i'm a moderate. i hang out in the middle and vote against my party with some regularity and try to compromise. it doesn't appear right now that the republican party is welcoming moderates any more. so i think that independent
voters need to take a hard look in the elections and realize that what we may be getting to is the kind of gridlock that, frankly, is not something that is desirable in terms of good policy in this country. >> chris: senator cornyn, that brings me to what i wanted to ask you. it seems almost certain whether they get the majority or not republicans are going to have more power in the next stat than they have the last two years even if you don't get the majority. is the gop mix over the next yao town hall meeting years -- he serri the next two years to undo the obama administration and try to work on compromise. >> it depends on the president. if the president is going to maintain his idea logical stance and try to force things through the left in america when we are sill a center right country, we are going say no. if he does things like bill
clinton and pass things like welfare reform and the like, then we will be with him. jobs, spending and debt are the issues. >> chris: after the democrats took a drubbing in that mid term election, will comial democrats move to the center the next two years and look for areas of compromise whether it is in energy or immigration or you the cutting the deficit? >> i will tell you that we have worked hard at the center whether it is tax breaks for small businesses which the republicans tried to block, keep in mind, chris, that we have passed a net of $300 billion in tax cuts in the last 18 months. that stimulus that the republicans love to put down almost 40% of that was tax cuts for middle america, for working people. we have passed tax cut after tax cut and most of those have
been over republican's objections. there have been so much politics being played that the policy has been left kind of at the side and i'm hoping that if this election produces anything it will be the ability to come together. i'm worried because of these extreme candidates that appear to be on the search of winning in some states and i'm also worried how serious. >> chris: you're talking all about the republicans needing to move to the center and being too extreme. there are an awful lot of americans and according to the polls most americans who feel that about the democrats. are democrats, is the president, is the white house, are are they going to move more to the center? >> i think there has always been a willingness to compromise. i was in the room with more than a dozen republicans trying to negotiate the stimulus. most decided the politics of the situation meant they should walk away even if it wasn't responsible in terms of what our country needed right there. we are in an economic morass.
a lack of regulation in the financial sector and senator cornyn said he wants to repeal the financial regulation bill. keep in mind this bill stops taxpayer bailouts. i can't imagine -- i have not had any average missourians come up to me and say you need to repeal that making that financial sector accountable. that is not something that the people of this country want. >> chris: senator cornyn, do you see any -- >> they won't us to have common regulations. >> chris: do you see any area of compromise for what senator mccaskill was talking about. >> they put a cap on discretionary spending which doesn't go far enough. only 17 democrats but all 41 republicans supported. i hope she is more successful getting some of the democrats to join republicans and join her in putting a cap on spending. and i would just point out it
is not just the stimulus. it is the healthcare bill that is 71% of primary voters in missouri said they would want to repeal the individual mandate portion of it. so there is i think a fatigue on the part of the american people with the aggressive agenda that frankly they don't agree with but they haven't been listened to, they have been lectured to and they are tired of it and they will speak up on november 2. >> chris: let's talk about one issue that should be solved because if nothing is done all of the bush era tax cuts will expire which means every american is going to get a tax increase. start with you, senator cornyn, where is the compromise? >> i was shocked that harry reid who controls the agendaen o the senate floor and nancy pelosi in the house did not key this issue up before the election. so, by the end of this year, the american people are looking at the single largest tax increase in american history including on a lot of small
businesses that declare their business income on an individual tax return. there couldn't be a worst message for the job createors in america during a time when unemployment is so high than the uncertainty of what future taxes are going to be. unfortunately, it has been a mishandling of the agenda. we need to deal with this in a way that keeps taxes low. the lat thing we need to do is to raise taxes on small businesses and job createors during a recovery, a fragile recovery like we are experiencing now. >> chris: senator mccaskill that compromise that seems to be out there is a temporary extension of all of the tax cuts for a year or two, particularly until the economy begins to really reverse itself. is that something that you could support? >> i'm always open to compromise, chris. i will go to the mat for the middle class. ino one wants any tax increases for the middle class.
we cut taxes by almost $300 million in the last 18 months and everyone needs to understand we need to be careful in this economy to not stymie any job growth. it is not 50% of the taxpayers. it is 3% of the taxpayers that would be impacted by the top bracket. i will say this, chris, we have to look at spending and entitlements and all of the corporate welfare out there as we address the deficit problem. i'm not sure how serious these guys are about the deficit. some of the proposals they are talking about goes back to what happened frankly during ronald reagan when we didn't balance the budget and george bush when we didn't balance the budget. we have to be honest with the american people and i don't know how serious you can be about cutting down spending if you are asking for, senator cornyn was part of asking for over $300 million in ear marks.
>> chris: i can't let this go. we just heard that the country had a $1.3 trillion deficit in the last year and i mean should democrats be preaching about being serious about the deficit? >> i can't speak for all democrats. i can speak for this one who has worked as senator cornyn said with senator sessions to try to bring down spending as a senator who doesn't ear mark. they won't even pledge that they will quit ear marking the republicans. how serious -- independent voters need to take a hard look at that. if they won't even say that they will stop ear marking in this kind of spending problem we are facing, i think there is a lot of politics being played, chris. >> chris: senator cornyn? >> our democratic tallies need to look in the mirror and accept responsibility for the fact that the democrats have been in charge in congress since 2007 and by the way, the deficit a percentage of gross domestic product, 1.2%. last year it was 9.9% because of the spending juggernaut that
we have seen the last two years. we do need to work together and we need to be serious but this has got to be about putting america back to work, cutting 81 necessary, washington, spending and not burdening the future generations with unsustainable debt. >> chris: let's talk in the couple of minutes that we have left about some specific senate races coming up in just 16 days. the one that seems to be getting the most attention is in nevada where senate majority leader harry reid is in a flat footed tie with sharron angle. i just looked back on real clear politics back all year isn't it a problem that harry reid the majority leader 24 years in the senate has never been able to get more than 50% in any poll? >> i think that that is a tough race. when you are the leader of the party in power during tough economic times you pay a high price for are that.
on the other hand you have republicans in nevada, you know, that hold office saying we cannot be for sharron angle. republicans endorsing harry reid, i have never seen anything like it where the republicans that know sharron angle in nevada are saying we can't send her to washington. i think that is going to be a fight to the end. i think harry is the kind of guy that if you really spend time with him you realize he is a nice guy who has had a really tough job and i'm hoping the people of nevada realize that he has always kept their interest foremost in his mind. >> chris: senator cornyn, very briefly, this is a race that everybody thinks could have been an easy pickup for the republicans. didn't the tea party by helping to nominate sharron angle make it a tossup? >> sharron angle is going win that race, i will make that prediction right here right now and if you like 14.4% unemployment and the fact that
75% of home mortgages in nevada are underwater, stay the course and vote for harry reid. if you believe that we can do better sharron angle is a good alternative. she raised $14 million from americans who are not extreme, these are grass roots americans concerned about the direction of that state and our country and i think she going to win because of the huge enthusiasm gap between republicans and democrats on one hand and democrats on the other. >> chris: finally senators, i will give you each 30 seconds. give me an upset special. one senate race that you think will be a wow, a surprise for us on election night. senator cornyn, you start. >> i think connecticut is the one i would pick. i would have said west virginia but that looks like it is moving now more into the mainstream for a republican pickup. i think linda mcmahon has run a good race against the attorney general in connecticut and i think that continues to close and i'm predicting that as an
upset. >> chris: that would be an upset i will give you that one, senator cornyn if that is the way the world turns. nor, your proticket agention for election night? >> i obviously think that missouri is not over like some people have been saying that hang out in washington. i'm here on the ground and i think independent voters know that roy blunt is part of the washington establishment and not part of the solution. >> chris: is that your upset special? >> i think kentucky is really a state where in spite senator mcconnell doing his best to get the nonextreme candidate nominated the extreme candidate won and i think that the people of kentucky know that jack conway is commonsense and he is a moderate and i look forward to him being part of our moderate caucus in the democratic party. >> chris: all right. we want to thank you both for coming in and talking to us and playing along. and we will see how the world turns in just 16 days. thank you both, senators.
>> chris: now, to one of the mid term's most hotly contested senate races. democrat barbara boxer who has been in the senate the last 18 years is in a fight for her political life with former hewlett pack car packard ceo cy fiorina. according to the latest poll, senator boxer holds a slim advantage.
joining us from mountain view, california, is carly fiorina. we also invited senator boxer but she decline. >> a tossup but having said that in every poll this year except one barbara boxer has maintained a small but steady lead. so the question i have for you is how tough is it to run for the senate as a conservative in such a blue democratic state? >> well, it is also true, chris, and good morning, thank you so much for having me on the show. it is also true that in every single poll barbara boxer can't get above 45% of the vote and that is because she actually is too extreme for california. she is an extreme liberal. she is hyper partisan. it is why her hometown newspaper refused to endorse her. describing her as so partisan she is ineffective. >> chris: and the paper didn't like you very much and didn't endorse you either.
>> that is true. the "san francisco chronicle" could not bring itself to endorse me. i am a conservative and proud of it but they did say that i was formidable and likely to be effective. california has 2.2 million people out of work. we have our cities that are bankrupt. we have people looking eastward 3,000 miles to washington where the water has been turned off in our central valley, where spending is completely out of control and remember that california has about 25% of its electorate that is considered swing voters, independents, declined to states. these are people in addition to a motivated republican base that are going to make the difference in this election. >> chris: you are campaigning and you just kind of alluded to it to your record as a tough bottom line former business executive but you want to extend all of the bush tax cuts which would add $4 trillion to the deficit. you say balance the budget by cutting spending.
question, as a bottom line business woman where are you going to find $4 trillion to cut? >> let's start with the fact that as you pointed out in the last interview spending has skyrocketed out of control in the last twoer years. it is true that government has grown steadily for 60 years but the last two it has gotten out of control. one of the things i know as ultimately rung the largest technology company in the world, show me a billion dollars that know one is accountable for or scrutinizes and i will show you hundreds of millions of dollars worth of waste. the gao released a report that said 22% of federal programs fail to meet their objectives. the truth is we don't know how taxpayer money is spent in washington, d.c. and we ought to put every agency budget on the internet for everyone to see. i think we ought to ban ear marks and give citizens the opportunity to did he
significant nate up to 10% of their federal income tax toward debt reduction. we would reduce the debt by $95 million a year. >> the tradition 58 ways that people talk about, discretionary nondefense spending is only 16% of the budget. you could cut all of that out, all for education and energy and for police support and government worker support around the country and it wouldn't be close to $4 trillion. where are you going to get that kind of money if you extend all of the bush era tax cuts and that adds to the deficit and doesn't deal with the deficit that we already have. >> the thing that we need to do to deal with the debt and deficit is to cut spending and grow the economy. that is fundamentally what we have to do. the tax cuts are central to growing the economy. indeed, i would argue there are some additional tax cuts we need to make. when we are dealing with a 35% tax on business when the world
averages 18%, we are increasingly uncompetitive. when our r & d tax credit is 17th in the world when it should be number one we are increasingly uncompetitive. back to the subject on spending, look, the truth is that career politicians like barbara boxer who has been in washington, d.c. for 28 years somehow never get around to the business of asking the fundamental questions that voters want asked now. how are you spending our money? why is it that every agency gets more money every year regardless of their performance? the budget -- >> chris: let me ask you -- >> the budget increased by 37% in the last year. that is crazy. we can cut spending. >> chris: let me ask you a specific question because i still haven't gotten many specifics on how you will cut $4 trillion and even more out of the budget. back when there was talk about a nonpartisan or bipartisan deficit debt commission you blastd that idea in january and said we already know all the
solutions and we don't need near committee to study it. as the antibarbara boxer tell me what you are going to do to cut the billions and trillions of dollars in entitlements. >> i blasted the commission because i believe it was a faint tore tack increases and, indeed, we are now hearing coming out of washingtond. c. that is value added tax is going be one of the recommendations of the commission. that would be incredibly detractive to this economy at a time when we need to be growing the economy. >> chris: where are you going to cut entitlements? what benefits? what eligibility. >> chris, i have so say with all due respect you are asking a typical political question. the american people say you know what, when we have 22% of the federal government programs not meeting objectives and at least two nonpartisan studies that suggests there is up to half a trillion dollars of
waste in the federal government budget let us please get after that first before we start talking about cutting entitlements. >> chris: but that is where the money is. it may be a typical political question. but the money is in medicare and social security. we have the baby boomers coming and there will be a huge explosion of entitlement spending and you call it a political question when i ask you to name one single entitlement expenditure that you are going to cut. >> we ought to put every possible solution up on the table except we should be clear that we are not going cut benefits to those nearing retirement or those in retirement. but having said all of that, for years and years career politicians, frankly, of both parties said the only way to cut spending is to deal with entitlements, it is the political third rail and never
get about the business of cutting out waste and inefficiency. >> chris: we have been talking about waste, fraud and inefficiency for 30 years. i covered ronald reagan when talked about it. there isn't that kind of money in waste, fraud and inefficiency. >> you know what,. >> chris: , the budget just keeps getting bigger and bigger and bigger and every year particularly in the last two there is more waste, fraud and inefficiency and you're right nobody gets around to it. it is why voighter voters in cd voters across the country are tired of career politicians injuries every business and every family in america know that at some point you have to start looking at your spending. let's start looking at our spending but let's not just breeze on past the fact that we have hundreds of billions of dollars worth of waste and inefficiency and fraud. we have it in the -- >> chris: i will try one time and if you don't want to answer
it, you don't need to. >> it is not a question i'm not wanting to answer it. >> chris: let me ask the question if i may, please. you are not willing to put forward a single benefit. i'm not talking about the people that are 60 or 70, i'm talking about people under 55. you are not willing to say a single benefit eligibility for medicaid and medicare that you would be willing to say, yeah, i would cut that. >> what i think we need to do to engainl the american people is to have a bipartisan group of people who come together and put every solution on the table, every alternative on the table and then engage in a long conversation with the american people so they understand the choices. instead of rushing off into a closed room and having a hundred senators figure it out for themselves. beneed to engage the american people in the conversation and i'm willing to consider any alternative. but we cannot continue to just jump over the fact that our government is bloated,
wasteful, inefficient, in many cases in ept and frankly in many cases as well corrupt. we have to deal with that. >> chris: less than a minute left. i want to ask you one other question. sarah palin has been campaigning for republican candidates in california this weekend. she endorsed you in the republican senate primary. you say you had a previously scheduled event. isn't the real fact that you tonight want to be seen with sarah palin because she is not popular with independents and she at this point in a general election would hurt you and not help you? >> i'm proud of my endorsement from sarah palin and i said that over and over again. the facts are that i had a previously scheduled commitment for months with a group of veterans and joh john mccain. i had a previously scheduled group of fundraisers and rallies. campaign schedules are complex things as you can imagine. we got word of her trip late in the game and so i'm delightd that she came to california.
i know shari that she helped ra lot of money and we had commitments to keep as well. >> chris: thank you very much for joining us today and safe travels on the campaign trail. >> thanks for having me. >> chris: up next, president obama makes surprising comments about what has gone wrong during his first two years in office and what he plans to do next. our sunday panel weighs in after this quick break. [ announcer ] how do you plus up breakfast? introducing total plus omega-3 honey almond flax cereal. all the nutrition of total, plu10% daily value omega-3 ala, and a delicious honey almond crunch. new total plus omega-3.
i'm pretty confident that if we work together over the next several years that the political temperature will go down, the political rhetoric will go down because we will actually be making progress on a lot of these issues. >> president obama speaking at a forum to young voters and giving what some see as a preview of how he might govern after the mid term elections. and it is time for the sunday
group. brit hume, fox news senior political analyst. mara liasson of national public radio. bill kristol of the weekly standard and elizabeth from the new york times. your newspaper have a fascinating article in today's sunday times magazine in which president obama and his top aides make the following points. the president is spending a lot of time talking to advisors about 2.0 as they call it, how the next two years will be different. he is reading up on the clinton presidency. and he talks about the tactical lessons he learned. he let himself look too much like the same old tax and spend liberal democrat. brit, are you as surprised as i am that the white house is engaged in this kind of post mortem before the mid term election is even held? >> premortem. >> preelection post mortem. >> no, this has been a long time coming and this election
and its outcome broadly speaking has been clear for a long time that major losses going to be suffered by the democrats. hardly surpriseing that they and the white house are thinking what what they will do afterwards. interesting to hear that he is looking at president clinton's record. he had a major reversal, of course, in 1994 and confronted an utterly changed landscape thereafter. it took him awhile to adjust to it and i think that president obama deserves a little time to figure out how to adjust to what will be a new landscape for him. having said that, however, it tows seem clear to me that he really hasn't gotten it yet about what happened to him and why. he talk talks about there were tactical mistakes made and they didn't spend enough time selling the healthcare program and so on. baloney. he made 40 some speeches on it. he sold it harder, worked on it more than i have seen the president on a priority in a long time if ever. he needs to figure out that
that is not what went wrong and he needs to figure out why some other things went wrong and go from there. >> chris: mara, i just want to ask one more question about the timing because i have to say i was shocked by it. i totally expected this but expected it -- >> afterwards. >> chris: afterwards. a number of democrats around town are unhappy with it because they say it sounds as if the president and the white house sounds like they are already writing off their chances. >> first of all, what he does say in the article even if we lost not a single seat in the house or senate or kept our majorities i would do things differently next time. obama 2.0 was going to happen no matter what. the big question people are asking is, is he agile enough to adapt to what the landscape is going to be like the divided government or half divided government. i think there are seeds of a plan to adapt in the article. when saids that he got painted not as a different kind of democrat but as the typical tax and spend liberal that was
interesting to me. because i don't think he spent a lot of time trying to tell people he was a different kind of democrat. the agenda he and the congress are going to face next year are going to be different. not big ambitious agenda items from h him. the deficit, maybe trade deals that is what also was mentioned in the articles, a potential for bipartisan compromise. maybe immigration in smaller chunks, maybe energy in smaller chunks. those are all tiffany rent issues where -- those are all different issues where he maybe could figure out a way to move to the center and work with the republicans. he has important decisions to make in november. >> chris: the clear subtest in this article is will barack obama pull a clinton. will he in 2011 just as bill clinton did in 1995 really move to the center and really work to find --
>> i don't know. the fact that the democrats are unhappy about the timing of the article, of course, cheers me up immensely and i think it is great to see how self pitying they are in the obama white house right now. the key is that i now realize it was a mistake to look like the same old tax and spend liberal democrat. it is a little -- he was a tax and spend liberal democrat. he had a chance not to be. he could have accepted the republican proposal to extend the bush tax break. he insisted on tax hikes, a huge spender. when a liberal says i can't look like a tax and spend liberal democrat he is conceding you can't run this country as a tax and spend democrat. the whole point of barack obama's presidency was to be the next wave of liberalism isn't that why they were so
excited two years ago? that is a huge concession. i think it means that he will make -- will be more pragmatic and i think he is ready to throw out. he will justify it assaying it was a misperception and always planned as the second stage but in fact a pivot away from tax and spend liberal -- being a tax and spend liberal democrat. >> chris: elizabeth i want you to weigh in but i want to add one other thing to the equation which is the biggest thing is, is he going to face a challenge from his own party? is there a danger that he could face a challenge from the left? >> i think he will see more of a challenge in the middle. there has been talk about a third-party, a bloomberg perhaps. i don't see a challenge from the left. although the left is extremely unhappy with him as bill was saying what a lefty he is. you would not get that argument from the progressives right
now. and the other interesting thing here in this article by my very talented colleague peter baker i should say is there it no discussion about national security and foreign policy. this is the first time in a long time that that has not been on the table and he has a lot of big decisions ahead on iraq and afghanistan and iran and the middle east and north core are rhea. not even a factor right now. >> chris: let me, mara, because you are the one who is most in the white house. a couple of times peter baker the author of the article brings up the name maybe the most unpopular name for democrats, jimmy carter. how much of a cautionary tale is jimmy carter for this white house that concern barack obama could be another brilliant, well intentioned liberal president who serves one term? >> look, the chamber going around is he will be the most successful one term president in history, ha, ha, ha,gy don't
i don't think you can be a successful one term president. even if you disagree with them they were consequencal pieces of legislation and he passed a lot of them, more than jimmy carter and bill clinton in his first two years in office. he needs to defend them and implement them. we will have a huge healthcare debate in the next two years about repealing it or not. i think that, of course, being a one term president is a cautionary tale and the other thing that is going to happen in the next two years pretty soon is that he has to think about his own reelection and how he sets himself up for that. does that mean ignoring some of the big problems that he wants to solve or not and the republicans are going to be doing the exact same thing. >> i'm just struck by this discussion about bill clinton. i remember so vividly, i coverd that. let's remember who bill clinton was compared to who barack obama has been. bill clinton was a governor from a southern state who had been repudiated and voted out
of office at one point by the voter is of arkansas and when came back to power he was a centrist. and he was deeply knowledgeable about a lot of centrists and even some conservative ideas and it was no major shift intellectually or idealogically for him to move toward the center. it would in my judgment be quite a major shift for barack obama notwithstanding the objections from the left that he is not liberal enough. the reason why he appeared to be a tax and spend liberal as bill was discussing is he has been a tax and spend liberal. that that is what he is and has been and it would be a major adjustment for him. the question is whether he would be willing to make it. >> chris: seemed to me in the article he was dipping his toe in the water. >> when we come back, the panel tackles this week's election news and the first lady hits the campaign trail.
expecting to see all of the change we talked about happen all at once right away, the minute barack walked into the oval office door. you know when i hear people say during the campaign that they never -- until that time, haven't they met anybody in uniform? >> chris: the first lady and the mamma grizzly in chief trading barbs as both were busy on the cam pan trail. let's start with the balance of power in the house which we haven't talked about so far today. democrats currently hold a big majority and republicans need a net gain of 39 seats to take back control of the house. bill, the conventional wisdom
for weeks has been they are going to do just that. do you see anything out there in the developments in the last few days that would indicate well, maybe not so fast? >> no, i think i said two or three months ago sitting right here that i thought republicans would pick up 60 seats and juan williams almost collapsed in pain and agony. he was so upset that he hasn't been able to come and you are here in his place and i still think they are heading towards winning the national vote for the house by 8 or 9 points. the democrats won the national vote in 2008 by ten and a half points. democrats ran ahead of president obama. it is interesting. the house democrats. a bit of a myth that obama was a savior for the party. he trailed the temperature crates. i think we will get a 17 or 18 point swing and republicans will take control of the house. >> chris: elizabeth, an astonishing report in the papers, cook political report and he drills down into each individual race, he now has 97 competitive races, that is
basically a quarter of the whole house, 90 of the 97 are democratic held seats. all offense for the republicans, all defense for the democrats. >> and right now the democrats are stemming their ranks in terms of spending money. throwing people overboard right and left because they can only afford to save a certain number. spending $2 million on harry reid's race in nevada which in a perfect world that shouldn't be happening and you wouldn't be necessarily saving harry reid but he is the majority leader. same thing with barb b barbarar that is a tight race. and already right now the white house is talking about how we are going to -- ask people on the west wing and they will tell you it wouldn't be the worst thing in the world that there would be a republican house because that way the republicans would be responsible for some action in the future and have the political stake in the next two
years. >> chris: you know, elizabeth touches, brit, on an interesting point which is the money. this is the point in the campaign where the party strategists at the campaign committees reach party, the national committee have to make the hard decisions about where are this he going to focus the resources they have left in the time they have left and you hear about democrats talking about house races, pulling back and basically throwing incumbent democrats under the bus saying we are not going to spend money on the races because they are going to lose and circling the wagon and building the firewall tighter and tighter and republicans are pouring money into an expanding battlefield. >> that is the tracking dean correctory of the race, there is -- that is the trajectory of the race. we watched this to see if on a national basis the president party would arrive at some issue or some message that would shift the momentum of the race. clearly they have not done to. the conditions of the country
in a race so nationalized as this one is, always more important than any one else and the public perceives the condition of the country to be dismal and the democrats having controlled everything are going to be held accountable for it and there is no way around it. i don't think there is a message or idea. they may be able to help at the margins with get out the vote and labor is committed to doing that and can make a difference in some states. i don't think the polls or the prognosticators are wrong. >> the white house has constantly been shifting trying to find a right closing argument for the president to make. first he was blaming push and then blaming house republican leader john boehner. the last week or so the chamber of commerce and the conservative groups and the money that they raised. >> none of this changed the big landscape and it won't. did he succeed in bringing some democrats back with the messages? maybe. npr did a new poll. we have 96 battleground
districts. 86 democratic and 10 currently held by republican. >> 96 and 86 are democratic. >> the story of our poll is that the good news for democrats is that in the races some of the democratically held seats it is getting tighter. the bad news is the whole battleground is getting bigger so they are having to defend more seats even though in some places they are getting tighter. i do think that you see democrats coming home. you don't see them coming home enough to change the big landscape. we haven't talked about the senate much. but in terms of the history, you a lot of incumbents under 50 even though they are locked in the races across the country. >> chris: not talking about 50 age, 50% of the poll. >> and generally in wave elections tight races tend to go to the person riding the wave. >> the senate shift historically. >> and undecided generally go to the challenger. what we don't know is if this is the time of year where the old rules don't apply yet. >> chris: elizabeth, meanwhile
as we mentioned at the top of the segment, first lady michelle obama returned to the campaign trail for the first time in two years we are told some what reluctantly because she kind of liked her position as being above politics and now she is back in the game. how much can she help democrats? >> well, she certainly can't hurt. she is a nonpolarizing figure. so interesting to me that the history making white house, the election of barack obama she has played so far a very traditional role as first lady as she has talked about being the mother of two daughters, she has taken on nutrition, she, you know, she works for military families, and so she warms up the candidate and she -- when she gives her speeches on the campaign trail they are not partisan. she barely mentions the republican party. this can only be good news. we saw that sarah palin was harkening back to two years ago when she made the comment about the first time in my adult life i have been proud of my country.
those are long gone. she has learned a lot since then. >> chris: bill, is michelle obama as some of the headline writers with have it the secret weapon who is going to save democrats? >> i don't think so. i don't think most voters vote for or against a congressman because of a first lady. the one debate that harry reid agreed to for the campaign. the senate majority leader 20 years in congress, he lost the debate against a candidate who was considered a weak nominee and sort of the most problematic person to emerge from the republican field and she beat him. you can't watch that debate regardless of whether you are a republican or democrat and say she didn't have more coherent arguments and more than held her own against the senate majority leader. to keep the next few weeks for the republicans they need to stay on the core message. if you have a wave election, ride the wave. make it about taxes and spending and the debt and the big issues facing the country.
the republicans are doing worse actually are the ones into the personal ethics fights. illinois for example. it is ought about who is more corrupt and who lied the most about his record. the republicans are running the most idealogiccal races. they are running straightforward conservative races with conservative messages anded doing very well. >> chris: mara? >> well, they are doing very well and it is hard to see, you know, we that ucite we talk abw republicans need ten seats to get a majority. maybe they only need nine and they can start talking to ben nelson and joe lieberman. we might have set the bar a little to high for them. >> chris: thank you, panel. see you next week. check out the latest edition of panel plus where the group picks up with the discussion on our website foxnewssunday.com. we will post the video before noon eastern time. up next, we go on the trail.
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>> chris: with the election only 16 days away, the parties are sending their big guns out to rally the faithful, and the candidates are facing off in final debate. the action was fast and furious on the trail. ♪ >> harry reid, do you need to understand that we have a problem with social security. >> my job is to create jobs. what he is talking about extreme. >> we've heard no outrage from you about the use of that kind of language which to many women is saying as calls an african-american the "n" word. >> i don't agree with that comparison. number two, this is five-week old -- picked up on cell phones.
i affirm the apology tonight. >> it's not just me but the people of california deserve better than slurs and personal attacks. >> it should not be about promises made on a comedy show over a decade and a half ago. this election cycle should be about what is important to the people of delaware. >> miss o'donnell at running office but not running anything at delivering catchy slogans but not delivering on any real solutions. >> this election, isn't it just about all that we've accomplished these past couple years. this election is about all that we have left to do. >> we have to stop the name calling and stop looking at the next election. we have to be focused on figuring out what we're doing for the next election. >> this is the most positive of our generation. real america is at a tipping point.